'30 Rock': Tina Fey on what's next
On a conference call with journalists Tuesday afternoon, Tina Fey, creator, writer and star of "30 Rock," discussed what's coming up for the comedy as it returns to NBC from the writers' strike on April 10.
On what will happen with her character, Liz Lemon:
"Both of Liz’s former boyfriends, Dennis the Beeper King [Dean Winters] and Floyd [Jason Sudeikis] will be back briefly. And Liz does have a little bit of a pregnancy scare. She probably hooks up once every seven years, yet when it rains, it pours."
And on her supporting cast:
"Frank [Judah Friedlander] has teamed up with Tracy [Morgan] a fair amount this year. He becomes Salieri to Tracy’s Mozart in a way. And Toofer [Keith Powell] got to play Sammy Davis Jr. in a weird fantasy sequence and he did a really good job."
On which guest stars will be appearing:
"We have a lot of our favorite guest actors coming back in these five episodes. I hope Edie Falco will be back. Tim Conway plays a very sweet TV veteran named Bucky Bright who used to be on a show in the '50s called "Wagons Ho." He’s there to be a celebrity for a Republican Party rally that Jack [Alec Baldwin] is trying to organize. And Kenneth [Jack McBrayer] is very excited."
And on potential pop stars appearing on the show:
"If there were a part that was appropriate, I don’t think we’d hesitate to go to somebody like [Britney Spears]: I’ve actually worked with her twice at 'Saturday Night Live' and she was very professional and nice.
"I thought McBrayer did great in [Mariah Carey's] video. And yes, if there’s ever something that comes up that is appropriate for Mariah, I will be the first person to try to get in contact with her.
"I still want Oprah to play my best friend."
One journalist asked about some of the aspects of the show that go viral, such as the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah and Muffin Top songs:
"We do like to put things in the show that are, for lack of a better term, TiVo jokes -- things that you would have to rewind and pause, things that kind of pay off on more than one viewing. I’ve had a lot people say that things go by so quickly, that there are certain jokes that they don’t hear until the second or third time they watch. So we do try to put things like that in there, like in "Mad Magazine," when they would draw in the margins. Early on last year we did an episode where Liz made a list of the pros and cons about her boyfriend. And then I realized that people did freeze frame and, you know, wrote on the Internet -- "Hey look what Liz said." And so ever since then, I realized people really look at this stuff. So if we do have a prop newspaper or something like that, we try to make sure that it has some extra jokes in it in case you do zoom in on it.
And touching upon some recent controversy, Fey addressed some comments she made about "The Daily Show":
"That thing was edited kind of weird because I was really talking about how audiences respond weirdly to things. And I said, "You know, like on ['Saturday Night Live's'] Weekend Update or anything. And then that kind of went away, so it seemed like I was saying something bad about those guys. And I think they know that I think their show is great and would absolutely never be disparaging of their show. We've tried to get [Jon Stewart] and [Stephen] Colbert a bunch of times. We will darken the doorstep of every performer living in New York if we are on the air long enough. So we will darken their doorstep again, I hope.
A few journalists tried to get Fey to talk a bit more about her comments on "SNL"about Hillary Clinton and Tracy Morgan's on Barack Obama, but the folks at NBC discouraged that conversation. Fey added:
"Yeah, I don't miss the news humor business. I think it's a lot of responsibility and pressure. And I prefer being just with these characters and telling stories every week. I'm enjoying that right now."
But she did note:
"Actually, we do have a storyline coming up where Jack tries to enlist Tracy to be the new black face of the Republican Party."
-- Claire Zulkey
<b>(Photo courtesy Virginia Sherwood / NBC / AP)</b>